Hello friends. Today we have a modest price drop on a winery that basically never offers price drops:
The reason Walter Scott rarely discounts is because they don’t need to; this is one of the buzziest wineries in the Willamette Valley right now. It is the winery of husband and wife team Ken Pahlow and Erica Landon, and the couple has tons of industry experience, he on the winemaking/sales side (stints at St. Innocent, Patty Green, Evening Land), she on the restaurant/somm side. The winery began in 2009, but it’s only in the past year or two that the wines have escaped the clutches of the winery mailing list and the state of Oregon, and they still turn up more frequently in restaurants than at retail. A lot of the early buzz came amidst positive press from exacting publications like Tanzer’s IWC and Burghound. Then the excellent wine writer Neal Martin arrived in 2015 to write about Oregon for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, and the buzz turned into a roar, thanks to these (excerpted) notes:
Okay, so all that explains why these wines are never offered at discount. But that still leaves the question of why there’s a discount today. The answer: somebody lost a bunch of wine, and then found it. Basically, the operations folks at the organization that reps Walter Scott wines here in Seattle did one of their regular physical inventories, and found a pallet of unexpected ’13 Cuvee Ruth. This happened right as they were about to bring in the ’14 vintage (the winery is already selling the 2014; at $40), so they’re eager to move through this unexpected ’13. Eager enough to shave some of their margin. Fortunately, because Walter Scott is a winery that we’ve been supporting almost as long as the wines have been offered in Seattle, we were among the first folks offered the wine at discount.
Now then, the wine itself. Cuvee Ruth was created with the 2012 vintage, and it is a selection of the best barrels that don’t get bottled as single vineyards. So let’s say Ken and Erica have 12 barrels of Temperance Hill Pinot juice, and let’s say they deem 8 of those barrels good enough to go into their single-vineyard Temperance Hill bottling. The other 4 barrels go into the more generalized Willamette Valley label. But maybe 8 barrels (200 cases) of Temperance Pinot is more than they want to bottle. Say they only want to bottle 150 cases (6 barrels). The destination for those other 2 barrels, barrels that – quality-wise – were good enough to go into the single-vineyard bottling: Cuvee Ruth.
All that to say: this is some damn fine juice for the tag, and it shows. It clocks in at 13.2% listed alc and spent about a year in French oak, about one-third new barrels. The nose is a beautiful pastiche of red fruits – raspberry, red plum, cherry pastille – complicated by subtleties of star anise and underbrush and smoky peat-moss earthy tones. That terrific balance of fruit and earth/mineral tones continues on the palate, which conveys impressive density and weight on such a trim frame. There’s real presence and character here, and lovely inner-mouth perfume. This finishes salty and mouthwatering, inviting the next bite of slow-braised, mushroom-studded pork shoulder or the next sip of this dynamic, characterful wine.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.